Gossipmonger

I remember the interview as if it were yesterday.  In reality, it’s been 21 years.

She became my boss.  I remember thinking we could probably be friends.  We couldn’t.  Her mood swings were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  A pendulum of emotions.  I watched every morning to see the look on her face as she walked in.  That one look would tell me how the day would play out.

We had a rocky relationship from the start.  Here, I thought we could be friends and it became the worst relationship of my life.  I was constantly being compared to the person I replaced.   I could do no right.  I couldn’t even ask good questions.  That’s what she told me.

She would tell me about the man who sat across the way from her.  I could never understand their problem.  But she talked about him more than she should have.  She stewed over the fact that he was male and she was female.  Life didn’t seem fair to her.

After many months, she told me the reason.   He knew her deep dark secret.  The one thing she only told a trusted few.  He had guessed.  She had confessed.  From that moment on, she didn’t trust him.  She knew he could out her at any time.  He never did.  But it was the elephant in the room.

Did she hate him because he knew her secret?  Could he not be trusted?  Had he really done anything wrong?  Was she afraid he was going to talk about her just as she talked about him?  Was her fear the enemy of her own soul?

He never said a word.  But he knew her secret.

She used to tell me the faults and misdeeds of others, as well.  I listened.  I noted.  I felt she was trying to sway my opinion.  I came to my own conclusions of those being discussed.  And of her.

You see.  One day the truth dawned.  It was a sad and scary truth.

If she was talking to me about others, then she was talking about me to others.  It’s a hard sentence to read.  It’s a harder truth to swallow.

That’s the way gossip goes.  No one is exempt.  You talk about the one you’re not with.  Your confidant is the one you’re with.  At that moment.

It happens all the time.

Innocent fact sharing.  Purposeful venting.  Secret letting.  Fact checking.  Getting the other side of the story.  Comparing details.  Insinuating evil.  Assuming our words are safe with certain others.

Gossipmonger:  A person who habitually passes on confidential information or spreads rumors.


Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14


I think about my conversations.  When have I shared facts just to appear in the know?  When have I vented because the situation turned in someone else’s favor?  When have I spilled the beans about someone else’s life because I was with my best friend?  When have I fact checked just because?  When have I compared details because I don’t want to be confused?  When have I assumed my words were safe with others and they’ve come back to bite me?  When have I talked about others because they were different from me?

After the creation, God saw all the wickedness that was happening.  He saw that the hearts and thoughts of man were only evil all the time. He was sorry he had ever made man. (Genesis 6:5-6).  That smarts.  Smacks me upside the head with the truth about my own heart.  My own words.  My own intentions.

Who am I to judge others’ words and intentions when mine aren’t always pleasing to God?

Heart Problems

She said my name with a sense of urgency.  She wanted me to do something that was her responsibility.  She had forgotten about it.  It was now urgent.  Do or die time.  And now it was my burden.  I had now been tasked with the responsibility to make things right.

Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.  Someone close to me uses that phrase.  But somehow I couldn’t say those words.

I could feel the bad attitude rising quickly within me.  I could have used words that would have reduced her to something small.  But that would have made me smaller.  I could have slammed a file down on the desk.  Or stomped off.  That would have caused more problems.  Instead, I stewed.  Boiling on the inside. No one can see stewing, can they?

Words can hurt people.  Actions can hurt people.  You can’t take those things back.  Both words and actions are devastating.  Thoughts and attitudes are just as destructive.  Is my bad attitude harmful to others?  Who is harmed if I think ugly thoughts?  If I don’t act on them?

Bad thoughts and attitudes are destructive to the one who thinks them.  They make a person bitter.  Or rude.  Or greedy.  Or judgmental.  And they spill out onto the next person.


Let my words and my thoughts be pleasing to you, Lord, because you are my mighty rock and my protector.  Psalm 19:14


Whatever comes out of the mouth begins in the heart.  Maybe I should put duct tape over my mouth to keep the ugly words out.  Is it possible to duct tape my heart, as well?  Would that keep the ugly thoughts away?  Would that stop the bad attitudes?

Then I remembered.  I’ve been trying to approach situations as if I’m doing everything for Jesus.  If Jesus had been the one asking me to do this thing, would I have created stew?  Would my attitude be different just because the messenger is different?  Is it fair to be willing to do for one what I’m not willing to do for others?

As soon as my thoughts turned to who I was really working for, I felt a shift of my attitude.  I was willing to do this.

It was actually a simple task she asked of me.  It was just scheduled over an event I had already planned.  My schedule had to change in order to accommodate someone else’s need.  I knew that no matter what my attitude was, I would still have to do what was asked of me.  I didn’t have a choice.  Maybe that was the problem.  I didn’t have a choice.

Sure, that person messed up.  I could help them out.  I’m sure they were going to get a talking to later, so why should I make the situation worse by being difficult.  It’s all a matter of the heart.  The attitude.  Whatever is in the heart comes out in actions and words.  Kind or unkind.  Pleasant or ugly.  Good or bad.

There is a choice.  It’s really a simple choice.  Remove the emotions and treat someone the way you would want to be treated.  Sounds so simple, yet sometimes the struggle is very real.